When’s the last time you just laid all the cards out on the table and got real with God? Can you remember the last time you were just as honest as you could possibly be with Jesus and with yourself? Maybe you were at rock bottom, literally laying on the floor, and you found yourself suddenly aware of selfishness or pride or the overwhelming goodness of Jesus in the midst of your shortcomings? Perhaps you were disappointed that things didn’t go how you hoped, or you just wished you had more love for the people around you and it brought you to your knees and you poured out your heart about it?

Has it been a while? Has it been ever?

Sometimes I think there’s a layer of pride we hide behind, where we find ourselves in moments in which, in our hearts, we’re on our knees aching for something, or about something, or because of something, but on the outside we keep standing. We don’t let go. We don’t put the cards on the table, get honest, and look for the God who’s able to see us through. We pray the prayers we think we’re supposed to pray and say the things we think we’re supposed to say. But it isn’t real.

There are some lyrics in a U2 song (Love and Peace or Else) which illustrate this concept for me. The verse preceding the one I want to highlight says:

As you enter this life
I pray you depart
with a wrinkled face
and a brand new heart.

And the chorus goes on to say:

I don’t know if I can take it,
I’m not easy on my knees.
Here’s my heart, I’ll let you break it,
I need some release, release, release, release…
we need love and peace.
Love and peace.

And while at first and second and thirty-third listen, I’ve skipped over the thoughts of seeking love and peace because they sound like the desires of a MakeLoveNotWar Hippie with long hair who makes peace signs in pictures and wears neatly folded bandanas as a fashion statement, I have suddenly of late become intensely aware of the lack of love, and often peace, in my own heart.

I need love. And I don’t mean I need someone else to love me more. I don’t mean I feel like I deserve to be showered with gifts and Hero Hubs is falling short. I’m not saying I’m disappointed that I’m not still in touch with all my college roommates.

I’m saying I do not have the love and the peace I need in my heart to navigate the days of my life the way Jesus would.

I’m overwhelmingly sinking in a sea of grace because I do not have what it takes to show love out of my own selfish heart.

And sometimes it takes taking a moment to get real, to be uneasy on my knees, before this truth hits my heart and helps me realise the gift that is Jesus. The love of Jesus. The love from Jesus. The help of the Holy Spirit that turns my un-loving ways into ways that point right back to the God where love comes from. The one whose promise of perfect peace is one I cling to on my knees:

You will keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on You
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

This amazing God has shown up with a brand new heart for me. And He is breaking my heart for the things that break His. And on my knees, ear pressed to His chest, I’m finding out about His love for me. His love for this world. Our only hope.

But sometimes I think it takes getting real, getting uneasy on our knees (not necessarily in the literal but at least in a figurative sense) to find the God who has the love and peace we need to navigate the life ahead of each of us. Heck, just to navigate the day ahead of each of us.

Just this afternoon, I received an encouraging message from a dear friend, and it included this verse:

“The mountains may move, and the hills may shake, but my kindness will never depart from you. My promise of peace will never change,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

The Good News of Jesus is that we are among the beloved — when we accept the finished work of Jesus on the cross, we receive the promises of God by faith: His goodness in every season in this life, whether we’re in trial or triumph. Salvation and eternal joy and peace in the life to come.

His new heart in us, our minds stayed on Him, the love and peace we need are available to us. And I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to get real, and receive it. Day by day, by day.